In his 1999 book Business @ the Speed of Thought, Bill Gates predicted that there would one day be personal devices that “connect and sync all your devices in a smart way, whether they are at home or in the office, and allow them to exchange data.”
Gates wrote, “The device will check your email or notifications, and present the information that you need. When you go to the store, you can tell it what recipes you want to prepare, and it will generate a list of ingredients that you need to pick up. It will inform all the devices that you use of your purchases and schedule, allowing them to automatically adjust to what you’re doing.”
Bill Gates, I am sure, is not at all surprised by the rise of voice technology, smart homes, and smart devices. Today, it’s quite possible to have your smart refrigerator coordinate with your smartphone to send a reminder that you need milk. Standing in your kitchen, you can simply ask Alexa to order some.
Now that this milestone prediction has become a reality, what are some digital trends we can expect in 2020?
- The Internet of Things will continue to grow. Applications, connected devices, smart appliances, and more are only becoming more connected, sharing more data and creating a better experience for users. In 2020, even more technology will become intertwined, allowing for increased cross-device sharing.
- The Era of Voice is here. Gone are the days when only a few early adopters had voice technology. Google and Alexa are becoming everyday assistants, along with advancements in voice search for smartphones. These will become more commonplace and even expected in the year ahead.
- Personalization will be key. As the Internet of Things and voice technology grew, consumers came to expect highly customized search results, integrated data that provided personalized results, and the ability to find the most relevant information as easily as possible. Furthermore, customization was a huge 2019 retail trend that will only continue to grow. In 2020, personalization will become the default expectation of consumers.
- Retail spaces will be more connected. As Gates predicted, store experiences will change. In 2020, consumers who head to physical locations will expect many of the same experiences they have online: personalization, connection to technology and key devices, and perhaps even in-store voice search.
- Gen Z becomes critical. Born and raised on a mobile-first internet experience, Gen Z is essential to the future success of digital brands. Expect to see Gen Z expand its purchasing power and begin to make its mark in 2020.
In 1999, Bill Gates was able to see quite clearly what 2020 would have in store for technology. This year, we can expect those predictions will come to even greater fruition as Gen Z hits its stride and consumers continue to rely on the Internet of Things, voice technology, and personalization.
Share Your Own Predictions
What digital advancements do you anticipate this year and beyond? We’d love to hear your thoughts on our LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter pages. If you’re interested in learning more about how your business can take advantage of these and other emerging trends, we also encourage you to check out our digital marketing solutions.